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Edward Wayne EDWARDS

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: To collect insurance money - Rape - Motive unknown
Number of victims: 5
Date of murders: 1977 / 1980 / 1996
Date of arrest: July 30, 2009
Date of birth: June 14, 1933
Victims profile: Billy Lavaco, 21, and Judy Straub, 18 / Tim Hack, 19, and Kelly Drew, 19 / Dannie Boy Edwards, 25
Method of murder: Shooting - Strangulation
Location: Ohio/Wisconsin, USA
Status: Sentenced to death in Ohio on March 8, 2011. Sentenced to life in prison in Wisconsin. Died in prison on April 7, 2011
 
 

 
 

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Edward Wayne Edwards (June 14, 1933 April 7, 2011) was a convicted American serial killer. Edwards escaped from jail in Akron, Ohio in 1955 by pushing past a guard and fled across the country, holding up gas stations for money.

He never wore a mask because he wanted to be famous. In 1961, he landed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. He eventually was captured in Atlanta - arrested January 20, 1962. Between 1977 and 1996 he murdered 5 people.

Background

Edwards was born in Akron, Ohio; he grew up primarily as an orphan after witnessing the suicide of his mother. Edwards was abused, both physically and emotionally in this orphanage, which contributed to his criminal behaviour. He joined the US Marines for a brief time, and soon after went back to his criminal lifestyle. He traveled frequently during his 20s and 30s doing odd jobs, such as working as a ship docker, vacuum retailer, and handyman. He lived most of his life, when not incarcerated, in Louisville, Kentucky.

Murders

He murdered 5 people in Wisconsin and Ohio. Two in 1977, two in 1980, and one in 1996. Tracing his life, Edward Edwards has been placed (within days) in US cities where unsolved murders have occurred. These cities include the following: Portland, OR (1960 double homicide), Great Falls, MT (1956 double homicide), and San Francisco, CA (1968-1970). It is thought by some investigators that Edwards is responsible for some of the most notorious unsolved murders in the US, such as the Zodiac killings, West Memphis Three, and the murder of Jon Benet Ramsey.

He was arrested in 2009.

Death

He died at the Corrections Medical Center of Columbus, Ohio on April 7, 2011.


Convicted serial killer Edward Edwards dies in prison, avoiding execution

By Michael Sangiacomo, The Plain Dealer

Sunday, April 10, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Convicted serial killer Edward Edwards cheated the hangman.

The man who confessed to killing his foster son and two young couples over the course of 21 years died late Thursday night in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction's Medical Center in Columbus of natural causes. Edwards, 77, was to have been executed by lethal injection Aug. 31.

Edwards used a wheelchair and had several major medical problems, including diabetes and other illnesses.

A three-judge panel in Geauga County sentenced Edwards on March 8 to be executed for the 1996 murder of his last victim, Dannie Boy Edwards, 25, the foster child who regarded Edwards as family. As proof of his love, the boy legally changed his name from Dannie Law Gloeckner to the nickname "Dannie Boy" and adopted Edwards' last name as his own.

Edwards persuaded the boy to go AWOL from the Army in May 1996 and to return home to Troy Township. Under the ruse of arranging a way to elude the Army, Edwards took Dannie Boy to the woods near the house, where he fired two gunshots to the boy's face. His motive was to collect Dannie Boy's $250,000 insurance.

Skeletal remains, later identified as Dannie Boy, were found by a hunter in a shallow grave just behind Troy Cemetery, less than a mile from Edwards' Troy Township home. At the time, Edwards was questioned about Dannie Boy's murder, but no charges were filed.

When he appeared in court last month, Edwards seemed content, even bored with the proceedings. He repeatedly said he welcomed the death penalty and would not appeal the sentence to die by lethal injection on Aug. 31.

Dannie Boy's half-sister, Jai-Dean Copley of Garden City, S.C., said Friday that she was relieved that the man who murdered her brother was dead.

"I feel like if we murdered him we would have been as bad as he was," she said. "It would have been suicide by the justice system. I know my brother would not have wanted him to be executed and neither did I."

Copley said that she and her brother went into foster care when their father fell on hard times. She said Dannie Boy moved in with Edwards and his wife in 1994 but lived with her for a while before joining the Army shortly before his death.

At the sentencing, Copley urged the judges to deny Edwards' request for a quick death.

"Do not give this man what he wants. He's taken and taken his entire life." During a break in the proceedings, Copley said, "The worst hell for him would be life in prison."

As it turned out, life in prison was less than a month.

Last year, Edwards was sentenced in Summit County court to life in prison for the 1977 murders of Billy Lavaco, 21, of Doylestown, and Judy Straub, 18, of Sterling. Their bodies were found Aug. 8, 1977, in Silver Creek Park in Norton.

Both had been shot in the neck with a shotgun.

Edwards lived in Doylestown from 1974 to 1978.

When told last year of Edwards' confession, Lavaco's older brother, Tom Lavaco, 62, of Wooster, was relieved that justice was done. He said a day has not passed that he did not think of his younger brother.

Edwards also admitted to the 1980 slayings of Tim Hack and Kelly Drew, both 19, in Wisconsin. For those two murders he was sentenced to life in prison as well.

Their bodies were found after they attended a wedding reception at a hall where Edwards worked as a handyman. Drew was raped and strangled. Hack was stabbed to death. Edwards was working in the area at the time. He never explained why he murdered the couple.

Edwards was living in Kentucky, where he moved with his wife in 2000, when DNA evidence linked him to the Wisconsin murders.

When confronted by police, Edwards started talking and didn't stop until he confessed to the five murders.


Edward Wayne Edwards: A timeline of his life

June 14, 1933: Born in Akron, Ohio.

December 1935: Mother committed suicide.

1940: Sent to orphanage in Parma, Ohio.

1948: Sent to reform school in Pennsylvania.

1950: Returned to Akron, started committing burglaries; left juvenile detention to join the Marines; went AWOL from Camp LeJeune, N.C.; arrested in Jacksonville, Fla.; dishonorably discharged from the Marines.

April 1952: Sentenced to a federal reformatory in Chillicothe, Ohio, for two years for impersonating a Marine and interstate transportation of a stolen car.

April 1955: Broke out of Akron jail while being held on burglary charges.

1956: Caught in Montana after a series of armed robberies, sentenced to penitentiary in Deer Lodge.

July 1959: Released in Montana, taken to Portland to stand trial for two armed robberies in 1956, sentenced to five years of probation.

1960: Broke out of jail in Portland, where he'd been arrested for turning in a false fire alarm. Questioned in connection with a double murder of a young couple. Traced to Colorado, where he cashed some checks on a Portland Bowling Club of which he was a member.

Nov. 10, 1961: Added to FBI's 10 Most Wanted fugitives list. A federal warrant charged him with unlawful interstate flight to avoid confinement after a robbery conviction.

Jan. 20, 1962: Captured in Atlanta with wife, Marlene.

May 18 1962: Sentenced to 16 years in Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary.

1967: Transferred to Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary in Pennsylvania; paroled from federal prison.

1971-1973: Touring as a speaker on prison reform, published book on his rehabilitation

September 1980: Left Wisconsin after being questioned about the Hack/Drew murders.

December 1982: Incarcerated in Pennsylvania prison for arson.

July 1986: Released from Pennsylvania prison.

July 30, 2009: Arrested in Louisville, Ky., for 1980 murders of Timothy Hack and Kelly Drew.

June 9, 2010: Pleaded guilty to Hack and drew murders and agreed to plead guilty to two 1977 Ohio murders.

Madison.com


Serial killer Edward Wayne Edwards sentenced to death in Geauga County slaying

By Michael Sangiocomo - The Plain Dealer

March 8, 2011

CHARDON, Ohio -- Serial killer Edward Wayne Edwards was sentenced Tuesday to death by lethal injection for the killing of his foster son, Dannie Boy.

A three-judge panel in Geauga County Common Pleas Court issued the sentence after Edwards declined to present any evidence in his defense or ask for mercy. He had pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and robbery earlier in the day.

Edwards, 77, has admitted killing five people in Ohio and Wisconsin.

He sat stoically in a wheelchair during the day-long proceedings in Chardon. He said he did not want his sentence appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court. He had previously said he welcomes the death penalty.

Edwards made no apologies and offered no explanations for why he fired two gunshots into his foster son in May 1996. Hunters found the body near Edwards' Troy Township home.

Investigators said Edwards killed his foster son to collect on a $250,000 life insurance policy.

The victim's half-sister, Jai-Dean Copley of Garden City S.C., asked the judges during the hearing to spare Edwards' life.

"It's what my brother would want," she said. "Do not give this man (Edwards) what he wants. He's taken and taken his entire life."

Copley said during a break in the proceedings that "the worst hell for him would be life in prison."

Last year, Edwards was sentenced in Summit County court to life in prison for the 1977 murders of Billy Lavaco, 21, of Doylestown, and Judy Straub, 18, of Sterling. Their bodies were found Aug. 8, 1977, in Silver Creek Park in Norton. Both were shot in the neck with a shotgun. Edwards lived in Doylestown from 1974 to 1978.

He also admitted to the 1980 slayings of Tim Hack and Kelly Drew, both 19, in Wisconsin. Their bodies were found after they attended a wedding reception at a hall where Edwards worked as a handyman. She was raped and strangled. Hack was stabbed.

Edwards was living in Kentucky when DNA evidence linked him to the Wisconsin murders. He pleaded guilty, then contacted Ohio investigators about the other cases.

Edwards lawyer declined to answer questions after the hearing about his client's crimes.

"Mr. Edwards has nothing to say," attorney Greg Meyers said. "A man should not be measured by his worst deed."

Edwards has diabetes and other illnesses but his health has improved since he has been locked up. He has lost weight since his earlier court appearances and no longer requires and oxygen mask.

Copley said that she and her half-brother went into foster care when their father fell on hard times.

"Our father fell into the bottle and couldn't get out," she said. "But he was a good man."

Dannie Boy Edwards moved in with Edwards and his wife in 1994, and he changed his name from Dannie Law Gloeckner. Investigators said Dannie Boy admired Edwards and considered him a father figure.

Geauga County Common Pleas Judges Forrest Burt and David Fuhry and Visiting judge Walter Wyatt McKay accepted Edwards' guilty plea and sentenced him.


Motivational Speaker Admits to Gruesome 'Sweetheart Slayings'

Edward Edwards Confessed to Killing 2 Young Couples

KTLA News

June 10, 2010

JEFFERSON, Wis. -- A young Edward Edwards once told a nun he wanted to be crook.

After a stint on the FBI's Most Wanted List and time in prison, he said he wanted to be reformed.

Instead, he now says, he became a murderer.

The ailing 76-year-old former con man, who once described himself as a cross between John Dillinger and Don Juan, admitted from his wheelchair Wednesday to killing a young Wisconsin couple in 1980.

Edwards also agreed to plead guilty Friday to fatally shooting a young Ohio couple in 1977.

He was being transported Thursday to Summit County, Ohio, where he was to enter his guilty pleas in court on Friday.

All four slayings came years after Edwards claimed to have turned his life around and started talking to others about avoiding a life of crime.

"It's just one more step on the way to hell for him," Patrick Hack, brother of 19-year-old victim Tim Hack, said of Edwards' confessions.

Edwards, of Louisville, Ky., was arrested last July after DNA connected him to the deaths of Hack and his 19-year-old girlfriend, Kelly Drew.

The couple disappeared from a Wisconsin wedding reception in August 1980.

Their bodies were found weeks later in the woods.

Investigators believe Hack was stabbed and Drew strangled. Drew's clothes and underwear were slashed to ribbons.

In April, Edwards confessed to Ohio authorities that he also shot Bill Lavaco, 21, of Doylestown and Judith Straub, 18, of Sterling in the neck at close range and left their bodies in a park in August 1977.

His attorney, Jeffrey De La Rosa, said he didn't know if more details ever would become known. Patrick Hack said he didn't need to hear more.

"If he told you something, would you believe him?" he said.

Born in Akron, Ohio, in 1933, Edwards wrote in his 1972 autobiography "Metamorphosis of a Criminal" that he spent his early years being beaten by nuns in an orphanage.

When a nun asked him what he wanted to be, he told her, "'Sister, I'm gonna be a crook, and I'm gonna be a good one."

Ruggedly handsome and just as cunning, he traveled the country in the 1950s, hitchhiking, forging checks and having sex.

According to his book, he escaped from jail in Akron in 1955 by pushing past a guard and fled across the country, holding up gas stations for money. He never wore a mask because he wanted to be famous.

In 1961 he landed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List. He eventually was captured in Atlanta.

He said a guard at the federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan., turned his life around. When paroled in 1967, he remade himself into an inspirational speaker and eventually married.

In 1980, he began working as a handyman at the reception hall where Hack and Drew were last seen. Investigators questioned him shortly after the couple disappeared, and he abruptly left the state.

He drifted to Pennsylvania where he burned down a rented house and in 1982 was sentenced to more than 2 years in prison for arson.

His movements in the 1990s remain a mystery. Police in Louisville said he moved into a trailer park on the outskirts of town in 2000.

A woman who answered the phone at the trailer home Wednesday declined to comment and hung up without identifying herself.

Wisconsin investigators submitted DNA taken from semen found on Drew's pants to state analysts in 2007.

They matched it to DNA from Edwards in June 2009.

Police have not said what led them to obtain DNA from him.

Edwards suffers from diabetes, is confined to a wheelchair and often showed up at court hearings hooked to an oxygen tank.

He's been getting medical treatment at a state prison in Waupun.

A grand jury in Ohio indicted Edwards Wednesday on two counts of aggravated murder in Lavaco and Straub's deaths.

He signed a deal agreeing to plead guilty to all four homicides and entered his plea to Hack and Drew's deaths in a Wisconsin courtroom.

Ohio prosecutors plan to seek two consecutive life sentences.

He'll then be sentenced for the Hack and Drew homicides in Wisconsin, where he faces two mandatory life sentences.

Then he goes back to Ohio to start serving his time.

De La Rosa said Edwards signed the agreement to spare his wife, his family and the victims' families from sitting through a trial. Drew's brother, Mike Drew, said he was surprised but glad.

"I was hoping it would come to this," Mike Drew said.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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